Reducing abstraction on the River Kennet.
About the river
The River Kennet is in the Thames River Basin District.
The river is not as healthy as it could be due to channel modification, diffuse pollution, invasive species and abstraction pressures.
There is more information about these pressures in the South East River Basin Management Plan:
The Environment Agency is responsible for managing the water needs of people, businesses and the environment around the River Kennet.
The Axford borehole
Thames Water abstract groundwater from a borehole at Axford near the River Kennet. This reduces the amount of water in the river.
As part of our Restoring Sustainable Abstraction (RSA) programme, we carried out an investigation into the environmental impact of abstraction at Axford. We discovered that the abstraction was not environmentally sustainable, and could damage habitats and species within the river.
How we are reducing abstraction
To reduce licensed abstraction at the Axford Borehole, we have proposed a RSA plan.
As part of this plan, when Thames Water’s variation licence came up for renewal in 2007 it was not renewed. Instead, a smaller variation was agreed which reduced daily abstraction from the Axford borehole by about 30 per cent.
We have plans to reduce abstraction even more through our legal powers under the Water Resources Act 1991. However this process will take some time.
We are also investigating other abstractions from the upper River Kennet, and may impose further reductions.